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EXPOSED: Leaked Tapes: ‘Nigerians Are Hungry, Crying, Poverty Growing |RN

Amaechi: I’m not aware of any recording

Though the veracity of the tapes is still not clear, Amaechi was heard in the recording saying the Buhari administration has brought misery to Nigerians.

Aidoghie Paulinus and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja, (with agency report)

Controversy has continued to trail leaked audio tapes exposing where Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, allegedly lamented the situation in the country under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although the veracity of the tapes is still not clear, Amaechi was heard, in the audio recording, figuratively saying the Buhari administration has brought only misery, poverty and hunger to Nigerians.

In the audio recording, shared with PREMIUM TIMES, by spokesperson for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign, Phrank Shaibu, Amaechi, who is director general of Buhari’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, said in the three years Buhari has been in power, Nigerians are lamenting.

He said in the audio recording: “These are not things you publish ooo. If you publish them, you will never sit with me any day.

“Three years of Buhari oo, everybody is crying, crying…pressmen are crying, farmers are crying, workers are crying, politicians are crying, students are crying, three years oo!

“The rate of poverty is very high. The people are hungry. Nigeria will divide!”

The audio recording presented Amaechi as describing the president as a leader who neither listens nor cares about what is written about him, as the voice said: “The president does not listen to anybody. He doesn’t care. You can write what you want to write. The president doesn’t care. Does he read? He will read, he will laugh. He will say ‘come, come and see, they are abusing me here’. In fact, there was one case of somebody in Onitsha, a trader in Onitsha who couldn’t sell his goats during Sallah; and, I was with Oga on the plane and the man was busy abusing Buhari. He said, ‘Amaechi, come, what is my business with Onitsha goat seller?’”

Reacting to the audio recording, Amaechi dismissed it, saying he was not aware of such audio now being played on several internet platforms.

He vehemently denied knowledge of any audio recording to Daily Sun, yesterday evening.

“I am not aware of any audio recording.”

Further told that the audio is gaining momentum on different online websites, the immediate past governor of Rivers State said: “Do I do website?”

Meanwhile, the PDP has said that Amaechi has a huge responsibility to defend himself on the alleged audio tape.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told reporters in Abuja, yesterday, that if the president believes the alleged tape is normal, it is not the business of the opposition party.

“What is out in the public domain is just a demonstration to Nigerians about the lies, deceptions, contrivances and beguilement that APC deployed to win the 2015 election.

“It shows that they have no plans, no agenda, no vision in whatever form as far as governance is concerned for Nigerians…”    (The Sun)

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2019: Kidnappings, Killings, Hardship Not Enough Reason To Vote Out Buhari – Sani, ACF Scribe

As the 2019 general elections approach, Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Anthony Sani, has said kidnappings, killings and economic hardship in the land are not enough reasons to vote out President Muhammadu Buhari at the coming polls.

Sani noted that even in advanced countries where democracy is being practised, bombings and killings cannot be ruled out, and citizens of such countries never called for dethronement of their Presidents. The ACF scribe therefore called on Nigerians to be patient with Buhari and give him a second chance to take the country to the promisedland. He spoke to NOAH EBIJEin Kaduna.

Sir, how has our country, Nigeria fared in the past year 2018, considering the fact that it witnessed a lot of challenges like kidnappings, bombings and killings by Boko Haram and herdsmen?

Nigeria has been going through challenges just like any other growing nation. And the government is trying its best to overcome the challenges. Such challenges should bring about purposeful leadership and the best in every one rather than frustrations. This is noteworthy considering that order, justice, liberty, peace, common decency and prosperity for all, are never natural order of things but attained through ceaseless hardwork by both leaders and the led.

This government inherited many of these challenges and there was even prediction by some group in America that the country would reach a tipping point by 2015, and the government promised to tame some of the challenges. The government is now three and half years old, it is therefore left for fair minded and public spirited Nigerians to do the fact-check and know whether the fight against Boko Haram has yielded positive results by way of reduction of spread and frequency of attacks or not, whether killing of high profile Nigerians has reduced or not compared to the past or not, as well as noting whether there are consciously directed efforts to tame kidnapping and killings by gunmen compared to the past or not. The records should inform judgement of Nigerian voters during elections.

I say so because challenges are natural concomitant of mechanism of community living. And that explains why there are still reports of killings by gunmen in developed democracies, including America that is 241 years old, and the fact that people rate their leaders on the basis of effectiveness of consciously directed efforts at overcoming the challenges. Nigerians should use the records for informed judgement during elections.

How worried are you that Nigeria is rated as the 3rd world most terrorised country?

Whatever level of worries does not result in wiping away terrorism in Nigeria but what is required has to do with consciously directed efforts to reduce the challenges substantially. I have stated that these challenges predate this regime, which promised to tame them. Whether Nigeria is number one, number two or number three among terrorist nations is beside the point. It is the efforts by the government at taming the menace that should concern most Nigerians as to whether there are notable improvements or not.

There is no doubt that there is economic hardship in the land, and people are blaming it on bad leadership. What do you think is the way out because some people have already concluded to vote out President Buhari in 2019 as the only way to solve the problem of hardship?

The complaints by Nigerians of failure of leadership is not new. Even developed countries complain of failure of leadership. This is precisely because however developed a country is, there would still be people who would suffer from poverty, since no nation can wipe out poverty completely. Recall the import of what Jesus Christ told Judas that “the poor would always be with you”. And that is why multi party democracies provide for people to retain performing leadership and vote out feckless leaders at specified periods.

This government inherited an economy that was in shambles that made the president to admit he almost considered abdication. The recession was foretold by the trio of Soludo, Sanusi and Ngozi Iweala which explained the setting in of the recession in the third quarter of 2015.

The government has exited the recession and trying to diversify the economy starting from agriculture and solid minerals. These cannot be a day’s job. But it is left to Nigerians to decide whether the efforts have yielded enough improvement over those of the past or not.

Leader of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi and Chairman, Northern Elders Council (NEC), Ahaji Tanko Yakassai have reportedly and respectively kicked against the re-election of President Buhari. These are founding members of ACF and elder statesmen who are supposed to stand firmly with ACF. Do you think ACF membership will ever be the same again?

I hope you are aware of the fact that the two groups of Northern Elders Forum and Northern Elders Council were formed because they thought ACF was not politically partisan enough. ACF has been political on issues most northerners share but not partisan. This is because membership of ACF cuts across partisan lines, and any partisan disposition on the part of ACF would be counter productive. More so that the North is hardly one when it comes to partisan politics right from first republic through second republic to the current dispensation. And given the nature of partisan politics, you may wish to note that NEF is in factions where the one led by Alhaji Sani Zango Daura, Paul Talfa and co have endorsed President Buhari while Ango’s faction has passed vote of no confidence on the present regime.

What is more, most members of other fora and platforms in the North belong to ACF which serves as umbrella body. For example, Prof Ango has been a member of ACF and contested Chairman of NEC with Coomasie and was later made the chairman of the ACF’s political committee. It is not long ago that we started hearing him declaring ACF a rival of his Northern Elders Forum. Alhaji Tanko Yakassai has not resigned his membership of BoT of ACF. He has even resigned from partisan politics. I am therefore sanguine that after the topsy-turvy of the electioneering campaigns and temper comes down, most of them will be active members of ACF again. There is no cause for alarm. What has happened is a result of nature of partisan politics.

There are reports that a bill for change from presidential system of government is being considered in the National Assembly. What is your take on it?

I am not sure if the problems of this country have something to do with structure of the country or form of government. This is because we have tried the parliamentary system during the first republic and jettisoned it as feckless. We tried military dictatorship and said it was aberration, and now we are trying the presidential system, which we say is expensive. But when we consider the fact that all these models have worked in some other climes, then it is hard to avoid the conclusion that our problems are inability to manage our national resources prudently and not structure or form of government. See how Lagos state is performing creditably under the same structure and form of government, which some groups believe are not workable. I am therefore more in favour of effective and efficient management of our national resources which come with integrity and credibility devoid of corrupt practices that have collapsed our national ideals, moral values and of our sense of what is right and what is evil.

What is your view about the effect of the president’s refusal to sign the amended electoral bill on the coming elections?

The President has his own reasons for withholding his assent to the bill, one of which is the time factor that does not allow for proficiencies in exclusive use of electronic voting that include electronic transmission of results amid prevalent hacking. He would prefer there is enough time for INEC to master exclusive electronic voting before it is put to use, which cannot happen now. He seems to have a case there. The President also does not want fusion of votes of political parties that have not merged. He may want political parties to merge and promote true multiparty democracies based on distinct manifestos as against the current practice that are devoid of ideology that inspire defections.

Other areas of concern is ECOWAS protocol which does not make for any amendment less than 90 days to the day of the elections.

And so, given those observations and the fact that the current electoral act sired by opposition PDP which claims credible elections in 2015, I think there should be no qualm for its use in 2019. But if wishes were horses, I would have preferred a situation where the two arms of government should come together and single out the card reader for inclusion in the electoral act. This is because INEC has already mastered the use of card reader and the only draw back is its lack of legalization.

What was your reaction to Gov El-Rufai’s committee’s recommendations to the ruling party on restructuring?

Though Governor El-Rufai is a member of Northern States Governors Forum, a member of the ruling party and may have the ears of the President, I do not think the committee consulted the North on this serious issues of far reaching reforms of the polity that include recommendations for resource control, scrapping of local government, merger of some states and introduction of state police. That report cannot be outcome of consultations across the North. This is because the term restructuring means different things to different people, and those who want restructuring that will allow different sections to develop at different pace are those who want unbridled inequality to push the country to a tipping point.  (The Sun)

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South West Will Vote For Buhari In 2019, Says Ayo Arise|The Republican News

Why South West will vote for Buhari in 2019 – Ayo Arise

 

A chieftain of the All progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ayo Arise, has said that the South West  zone will vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections. In this interview with WILLY EYA, he spoke on various issues.

It is two months to another round of general elections and there is a heightened political tension in the country now; what are your thoughts ahead of the 2019 poll?

Looking at what is on ground and the efforts of the incumbent government and the lackluster campaign of the opposition, it looks to me that the election is going to be what the Americans call a home run. I have my reasons. Maybe the master strategy and masterstroke that the APC as a party adopted ab initio, their social services to the poor have virtually made members of the opposition to panic with some actually saying it is like bribing the electorate. That is the kind of panic that I have seen that shows that this government is actually working. Every government around the world that has been so popular has always done so. I will take you back to immediately after the Second World War or shortly before that, during the reconstruction when President Roosevelt started what he called the social security benefits; in the process, he introduced the post stamps to those people who could not feed themselves. The idea was for them to go to the post offices and collect stamps and they could feed free in America. Something similar to that is what the APC has done to the poor in our society. Not only do they give the elderly, the very poor, they give them stipends to live on. It might be poor but there is a difference between zero and something.

The APC has done so much for the poor in our society by giving them something to feed themselves and to have hope that tomorrow will be better. They have gone beyond that. The niche is the ‘Trader moni’ programme. It is actually given in the form of a loan but is interest-free to encourage people to develop themselves and as soon as they pay back, the money is increased and the person could have 100 per cent once he pays back the initial money. How do you want to tackle that in any society? Roosevelt was not only popular, he did four terms as president.

As a matter of fact, the man was on a wheelchair. So, the APC has continued to do things for the poor people and that is where the PDP has no response. When the President came out to say that he would not allow what they did to him to happen to another person, it is that he is so confident of what he has done. Anyway you look at it, whatever grammar and noise you make, the social services to the poor have achieved a lot and the politics of the APC is working the talk. But it is very painful for those who are making easy money in Nigeria. In this dispensation, there is no free money anywhere. It is being ploughed back to those who require survival in the society and the money could go round the people. So, I support the APC and their programmes.

Our people are prepared for this election more than three years ago unlike the PDP that are struggling for votes two months to the election. You can see all the programmes of the party. Some are three years old, some two and some even recently, and looking at all of these, I want to say that 2019 is going to be a homerun election for the APC. If you look at the geographical configuration, you find out that even if the South East will vote for the APC because of the PDP vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi for whatever reasons, you find out that that zone has been effectively neutralized by the votes that will come from the South West. Don’t forget that almost all the South West states now have APC governors. Forget about all the noise in some quarters; the moment you allow a stranger to occupy your house and you do not have a house to go back to, you. are finished. The South West will vote for Buhari.

You talked about a lackluster campaign by the opposition but many people feel it is the other way round and that they are not seeing much of the APC campaigns; is it a matter of strategy or what? Again, what would you say to those who hold the view that some of the social investments your party is embarking on now like the ‘Trader Moni’ programme are like vote-buying ahead of the election.

It is just a question of looking for excuse. Those people who are complaining know the programme of the APC ab initio and were here when N500 billion was allocated for that purpose some two or three years ago. Why you see all these is because they have not been able to respond to most of these policies to make any impact in the coming election. The government started with the N-power and would you now say that because of the fear of what the opposition would say, you stop such a programme that is good for the people. Or would you say because the PDP is complaining, you would not give the poor people money that sustains them? Would you say that because the PDP might call it bribery, you would stop giving loans to the traders? There are so many things that are going on that you can see but it is only lazy people who do not want to work for their money that are complaining. I am talking about those who are used to free money and stealing. I have always encouraged everybody to work for his money; this country will move faster than waiting for free money. I was part of the PDP when I was at the National assembly and I had my voice and supported everything that was progressive. So, for me it is not an issue of waking up overnight and now saying this. I started from the Alliance for Democracy; that is my own background. Politics is about caring for the people; it is not about making money.

You sound very optimistic about the APC winning the election but unlike in 2015, the two major candidates are both from the Fulani tribe in the North and of the same Muslim faith, don’t you think that it is going to be a tough battle?

Some people are of the view that former President Jonathan lost because the election was between a Christian and a Muslim and a Northerner versus a Southerner but they have forgotten that in 2011, all those were not considered before Jonathan was elected. Some people compare Buhari to Atiku but let me tell you, if Buhari goes to any state in the North, it is always a lockdown; I have never seen that level of followership before. Even before the social investment programmes that the government has been executing, if you saw the followership, you would marvel. It is not an issue of where a candidate comes from but that of what do we want as Nigerians. If Buhari is able to do what he has done so far, imagine if he stays four more years and he now moves the power generation to 10000 megawatts or more than that. Look at our foreign reserve! Where were we in 2015? Look at the agricultural sector! We are looking for a country that would care for everybody.

In the area of security, remember that in 2015, we were already getting jittery that Boko Haram was coming to the Southern part of the country. Today, Boko Haram is contained in the North and most of the local governments where the sect hoisted its flags before have been fully recovered by the Nigerian Army.

What is your take on the order of the Nigerian Army for the Amnesty International to quit the country following its report that about 3500 Nigerians have been murdered under this administration? I listened to both sides and the Army spokesperson said they recommend their relocation from Nigeria. It is not the military that should tell them to move out of Nigeria. The woman who spoke on Channels for the Amnesty International said they never got any clarification from the military even though they made attempts to do so. She said that when there was a response from the Benue State government, they had already written their report. It is good for people to continue to do their work but when there is exaggeration of statistics based on probably rumour, it is wrong. So, I think the reaction by the military was in anger because they do not have the right to order the Amnesty International to relocate from the country. When you are wrongfully accused, there is a tendency for you to get angry and upset.

What would you say about the president declining to assent to the Electoral bill? Do you agree with those who insist that President Buhari did that because he does not want a free and fair election in 2019?

I have listened to so many people on the Electoral bill. In that bill, a section says 90 days notice is required and in another section on the same thing, 41 days is required; how would you now say you should go and pass an act that has such an obvious conflict. The president has an Attorney General who would look at it and luckily enough, he has a Senior Advocate of Nigeria as his vice. What would you imagine would happen if people go to court if they find the obvious conflict in the act? So, when people trivialize this, I started wondering what is the problem. That is the way we trivialize everything in the country. Most of the people in the National Assembly, on individual basis, we are friends and most of them who have even moved back to the PDP are people that I know but I am saying that if people defected from the party that voted them in, they should forfeit their seats.   (The Sun)

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Buhari Surrounded By Rogues, Says Bakare |The Republican News

Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, has said President Muhammadu Buhari cannot be a clean man surrounded by rogues; after some Nigerians alleged that some of those around him are dipping their hands in the national treasury.

Baker also said Buhari did not appoint ministers for six months because there was no money to pay them.

In an interview aired by Heritage Media, in Calgary, Canada, on Tuesday, monitored by TheCable, the cleric criticised Buhari’s appointment of those he described as square pegs in round holes.

“In Nigeria, what I have found out is we put square pegs in round holes, and round pegs in square holes. For example, the person in charge of Budget and (National) Planning is a lawyer.

“What experience has he gotten other than federal character? You can begin to look at each ministry the same way and, in the civil service, that is supposed to be the memory bank of government, they’ve promoted mediocrity

“What percentage of our annual budget goes into education, and what percentage has gone into grass cutting and cutlery?

“When it was made public that there were no sufficient drugs in the Aso Villa clinic, the nation should have known where their health is,” Bakare said.

The cleric said former President Olusegun Obasanjo had the best cabinet, with the best and brightest minds from across the world, adding that Buhari has not been able to do same because of his political party.

“The allegations by the Nigerian public is that those around the president are also stealing, and some names have been mentioned.

“You cannot be a clean man surrounded by rogues, if you don’t deal with those rogues, they would colour you with the same tar.

“Development under President Buhari has been slow because, as he said, he inherited an empty treasury.”   (The Sun)

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2019 Election: Buhari Will Beat PDP, Others With Wide Margin – Lai Mohammed

Iheanacho Nwosu Emmanuel, Abuja

The Federal Government has boasted that President Muhammadu Buhari would win the 2019 presidential election with a margin higher than the score line he recorded in 2015 poll to beat then President Goodluck Jonathan.

It also accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sponsoring insinuations that the police and other security agents were working for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated these during an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja also dismissed as untrue, claims that the implementation of 2018 budget was only within 10 percent. He upbraided some National Assembly members for disrupting last Wednesday’s budget presentation by President Buhari.

He said, “Yes, some unruly lawmakers threw away parliamentary decorum to behave like ordinary protesters or agitators. It is nothing but bad politicking.

“But the real news is that the unruly action provided the platform for our party, the APC, to assert its majority in the National Assembly.

“The plan by the opposition was to embarrass the president and prevent him from presenting the budget.

“But they were comprehensively overwhelmed by our lawmakers who are in the majority.

“That also sends a clear signal to the opposition that they lack the number to override the president’s decision not to accent to the Electoral Bill.

“I must also note that all through the sniping by some unruly lawmakers, the president remained dignified and presidential. He rose above it all to make his presentation.”

Describing next year’s election as crucial, Mohammed said everything so far points to the fact that Buhari would record a landslide victory at the polls.

He continued, “APC will win with a larger margin than it won in 2015. We have no fear in this election. We are going to win; we are going to win massively.”

The minister claimed that the performance of the government in the area of infrastructure, wealth creation, employment generation, security and diversification of the economy would gift the party victory at the polls.

He said it was wrong to say that APC was not campaigning, stressing that the party’s presidential campaign had not kicked off because it was not long the window for campaign opened.

The minister who spoke on a wide range of issues insisted that there was no truth in claims in some quarters that APC was working with the police on electoral matters accusing PDP of being behind the allegation.

Reminded that two United States of America (USA)-based groups, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), in their reports last week, made similar allegation against the police, Mohammed insisted that PDP was behind the allegation.

He said, “The opposition is only crying wolf where there is none and in view of what they did during their 16 years in power.

“They never really won a free and fair election. Their strategy was to use the security agencies to thwart the wishes of voters. They did it in Ekiti and Osun in 2014. I was a victim in Osun, so I know what I am saying.

“But the guilty are always afraid. They think what they have done to others is what will be done to them. Under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch; no security agency will play that kind of ignominious role in any election.”

On the recent hullabaloos over the report of Amnesty International on killings in Nigeria and government’s lack of or slow response, Mohammed said although there were aspects of the group’s report that were correct, it was fraught with misrepresentations.

He said, “Let me say that I have gone through the statement by the Amnesty International on this.

“One thing they got right in their report was the cause of the killings. Amnesty said the root cause of this conflict had nothing to do with religion or ethnicity; and that it was largely about land and access to grazing.

“That is correct and confirms what we have been saying that the clashes were a result of environmental factors that had made the contest for resources, especially land and water, very keen, demographic factors and, sometimes, sheer criminality.

“But they were wrong, very wrong to suggest that the government had done nothing to stem the killings. I think their report is largely outdated.

“Everyone knows that the killings resulting from the farmers-herders clashes, and indeed killings from cattle rustling and other causes, have gone down drastically.

“This didn’t happen by accident, but by a concerted and determined efforts by the Buhari administration.

“Let me list some of the actions that led to the drastic reduction in the killings: deployment of a Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF), comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

“Establishment of the Army’s 2 Battalion Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kanfanchan, Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State.

“Establishment of a new Area Command and two additional Divisional Police Headquarters in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“Establishment by Nigerian Air Force of Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, and deployment of Special Forces to these Quick Response Wings.

“The inauguration, by the Nigeria Police Force, of a new Mobile Squadron in Takum, Taraba State.

“And Operation WHIRL STROKE, operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustlers, communal militias, kidnappers and other bandits.”

He added, “Amnesty also accused the government of lethargy, saying this has allowed impunity to flourish. Again, they got it wrong.

“Apart from taking concrete measures to end the killings, as I have stated above, there have been arrests and prosecution of offenders.”

He equally faulted the recent report of New York Times which indicted the military in the killing of Shiites members during the latter’s religious procession.

He said, “I have read the report and watched the video. First, let me say that as an administration that believes in the sanctity of life and the rule of law, the Nigerian government does not and will never condone extrajudicial killings or the willful violation of the rights of its citizens.

“This does not define who we are as a government. In this regard, the government will study the report and the video with a view to determining their authenticity and taking necessary actions.”

He submitted, “The bigger picture must not be lost on us, there seems to be a choreographed campaign to demoralise our military. This is dangerous, considering their sacrifice, gallantry, and patriotism.

“Thanks to our men and women in uniform; we sleep with our two eyes closed at night.

“We must be careful not to do anything that will kill their morale, thus hampering the fight against terror, which they have prosecuted with tremendous success since this administration assumed office

“For example, when we suffered a setback recently with the killing of our troops at Matele by Boko Haram, we didn’t see the kind of outrageous reports that we normally see when Amnesty International or a section of the foreign media writes to condemn the Nigerian military.

“There was no widespread condemnation of Boko Haram. I think the impression must not be given that our military is a target of attacks by the human rights organisations and the media, especially the foreign media.”

He tackled the former Vice President and presidential candidate of the PDP over his alleged statement that that killings would continue if President Buhari was re-elected, contending that such comment amounted to politicisation of the matter.

He said, “This amounts to politicisation of the killings and bad politicking and it is totally unacceptable.

“If it is indeed true that the former vice president said that, it must be an act of desperation due to his floundering campaign.

“It is clear to all Nigerians that the electioneering campaign of the PDP presidential candidate has failed to gain traction.

“From Sokoto to Ilorin to Ibadan to Gombe, it has been a disastrous outing for the campaign. With that magnitude of failure, anyone can say anything to stay afloat.”       (The Sun)

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Presidential Election: Afenifere Endorses Buhari, Osinbajo For 2019 |RN

The Afenifere leaders, led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, held the meeting at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat Agodi, in Ibadan.

Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Notable leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, rose from a meeting which lasted for about three hours on Thursday, in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, and endorsed the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for re-election in February 2019.

x states in the South West, also fixed January 29, 2019 for an official declaration for Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.

The Afenifere leaders, led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, held the meeting at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat Agodi, in Ibadan.

The resolution was reached by Yoruba leaders including former governor of old Oyo state, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, former deputy governor of Lagos and Oyo states, Prince Biodun Ogunleye and Iyiola Oladokun, respectively, Dr. Abayomi Finnih; son of the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin, a former governor of old Ondo State, Tokunbo, and former commissioner for Lands in Osun State and son of Chief Bola Ige, former Minister of Justice, Muyiwa. The roll call also included Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Mr. Ayo Afolabi, Prof Adebayo Ademudi, Oladosu Oladipo, Tajudeen Olusi, and chairman of Ekiti State chapter of Afenifere, Chief Akin Fasae.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Fasae said: “We have decided to host Yorubaland in Ibadan, on January 29, next year. It is to proclaim the support of Yorubaland for president Buhari in 2019, and also, to tell the whole world that Afenifere, which Chief Obafemi Awolowo (former premier of the Western Region) created before he left, is still intact as a progressive movement. And any Afenifere person, who is not in the progressive, is not part of us. “We are now telling the Yoruba people and the whole world that Afenifere, as enunciated and enacted by Chief Awolowo is still intact and we are going to support president Buhari and Prof Osinbajo; come the presidential election in February 2019.”

Giving more information about the January 29, 2019 Declaration, Fasae said that “the owner of the mandate of the Yoruba people is APC. The six governors of Yorubaland are APC. Speakers of all Houses of Assembly in Yorubaland are APC. So, we have six speakers.

“Those people in other group of Afenifere, none of them has ever contested election. Go and research it. So, they don’t have any mandate. The Afenifere we are talking here has the mandate of the Yoruba people, and you will see them here, all of them,” and added that Osinbajo and progressive

leaders of Yoruba nation would attend the January 29 declaration. Fasae dismissed the notion that Afenifere should not be playing partisan politics by endorsing a political party.

“Yoruba, as a nation, must have a political interest. So, when they tell us this is their political interest, as Afenifere, we must support them. This is just the point. We cannot say because Afenifere and Yoruba people want this, then, we’ll run away from them. No, we don’t do that.”

In response to the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Fasae said: “The Afenifere we know in Yorubaland is progressive. And this is where we are in Ibadan. The other Afenifere that is talking about Atiku is the Ayo Adebanjo. They are not part of us. They are usurpers in the group.”  (The Sun)

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Buhari’s Economic Team Members Lack Requisite Knowledge – Atiku |RN

•Says NBS report on job loss terrible

Success Nwogu and Ogbonnaya Ikokwu  

 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday said Nigeria’s economy was in bad shape because members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic team do not posses what it takes to turn the economy of the country around.

Atiku said if voted into office in 2019, he would use the knowledge he had garnered from many years of serving as a public officer and being in business to turn the economy around.

He spoke in Aba, during a town hall meeting he had with representatives of the business community.

The presidential candidate said he was in the South-East to interact with businessmen from the zone because of the role they played in the economic development of the country and West Africa.

He said he would do whatever was obtainable within the confines of the law to promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

He said, “I am aware of your challenges because I am a business man like you. Whatever that is your pain is also my pain.  I face the same challenges you are facing, but the only thing we can do to change the situation is to change the government in power now.

“This present government lacks the understanding and the capacity to turn our economy around, nor promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“We would ensure that policies that would encourage businesses to thrive in Nigeria are put in place.”

Atiku said the nation could not afford to have a population of 15 million unemployed youths.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, described the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics that 20.93m Nigerians had lost their jobs under Buhari as terrible and catastrophic.

He said the implication was that the unemployed population in Nigeria was twice the population of Benin Republic.

He said Nigeria could not continue to be run by an administration that lacked solution to the country’s socio-economic and political challenges.

He said, “We expected a terrible job report, particularly with the comment on live television from the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, that President Buhari had ordered the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, to fudge the latest job reports.

“However, the job report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, November 19, 2018, is not just terrible, it is catastrophic. It shows that under the APC administration, a whopping 20.93m Nigerians have lost their jobs!

“To put this in perspective, the unemployed population in Nigeria is now twice the population of Benin Republic!”

He added, “Nigeria cannot continue like this, especially with an administration that continues to blame others for things that they should find solutions to with the latest ridiculous episode being President Buhari’s blaming of former President Jonathan for his own inability to appoint ministers for six months, an action that is directly responsible for the sorry state of unemployment in Nigeria.”

The former vice-president  urged Nigerians to note that a President who could not  create jobs or wealth in his own private business could not create jobs or wealth for the public. (Punch)

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